1/22/17: Jackie O's Java the Stout

1:52 PM

Believe it or not, it's 65 degrees here in Cincinnati today. It's January 22nd. I just got back home from taking a nice afternoon run in the warmth and the sunshine. Today, I'm drinking a winter seasonal. This probably isn't the kind of day that the brewers at Jackie O's envisioned one would enjoy while drinking a Java the Stout--no doubt they brewed it for days when snow piles up and people are forced to stay off of the roads due to unseemly weather conditions.


But, here I am sitting on my balcony in late January, listening to songbirds, and drinking in every last bit of warmth this winter sun has to offer, an open can of Java the Stout at my side.

Jackie O's (click the link to find their brewery website) has been in the beer production game since 2005. In 2013 the brewery began canning their offerings to ship around the state of Ohio--what started with Firefly Amber, Chomolungma, and Mystic Mama has evolved to nearly ten of their beers being distributed in in this easy to move, easy to produce format. But, since the folks at Jackie O's have never been the kind of people to settle, one can normally find bottles of some of the brewery's more special beers in the Ohio places one normally ventures to acquire great beer.

But the fun doesn't end there! Jackie O's has a multitude of barrels for aging their beers, which is exactly what the brewery's been doing since 2013. From bourbon, to sherry, to rum and more, the barrel aging program Jackie O's houses is something that only serves to add to the quality of their products. If you'd like to know more, please click the link at the beginning of the last paragraph--it's got more details on everything I've stated here and then some.

Java the Stout (that link'll take you to the beer's official page) is, as mentioned previously, Jackie O's winter offering. Not only does it feature does it feature what may be the coolest/nerdiest can design I've ever seen, it houses "...a robust aroma and pungent coffee flavor..." that it takes from coffee beans provided by Athens' Own. At 6.5% ABV, the stout's not as hefty as I would typically expect from a winter seasonal, but, for a crazy warm day like today, will probably hit just the right spot.

Before getting into my thoughts on the stout's bouquet, let me tell you here and now that Purrl hated it. She refused to get her nose anywhere near the can and would not sit still enough for me to snap a good picture.

I tried, though.
I, on the other hand, am infatuated with the aroma wafting from the open can. It's deep brown caramely coffee. It's enticing, to say the least. Roasty, but not overly so, it smells like the coffee you'd drink while kicking back on a Sunday morning to read your newspaper.

The flavor doesn't quite hold up to the bouquet, however. There is obvious coffee there, and it does play well off the the roasty stout base of the beer, but I don't know. It doesn't quite do it for me. It's good, mind you. Jackie O's themselves described the coffee flavor are pungent. I think punchy may be a bit better adjective here. While the aroma lulls you into relaxation, the reality of the flavor is a little more brash and bold. Not bad, but not necessarily my thing.

The stout's mouthfeel hits all the right notes. It's not fizzy but there is enough carbonation present to give the beer a robust body.

When I was a youth (as if I'm not now), I accompanied my church on it's yearly service mission to Appalachia. We fixed up homes for people. While we were in the area (this was rural Kentucky, for what it's worth) my group stayed in a school that was closed to its students for the summer. Some mornings, I like to remember this as more often than not for the week we were there, I woke up early to go for a run around the schoolyard.

On those runs, I got to experience the fog the billowed from the mountains surrounding it onto the school. It created a thick blanket as I ran laps around the area, my shoes and socks soaked from each morning's dew. Maybe it was the brilliant uniqueness of those mornings, maybe it was the all-consuming fog, it doesn't really matter what--something about those dawn runs is what I'm recalling as I sit here drinking Java the Stout.

I like this beer. It's a solid stout and I would expect nothing less than this from Jackie O's. While I may be unable to get over the dissonance I perceive between the aroma and taste, don't let that dissuade you from trying this, should you get the chance. I'm giving it an 8.0/10. It's a good beer.

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